“Accept” is the first word in the brain teaser of the mind puzzle Alberto Falcone is completing in the first scene of “Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One.” That fleeting, less-than-3-second scene provides a glimpse of the undercurrent consistent of the glorious two-part, 3-hour event.
The animated movies are based on the 1997 13-issue comic of the same name written by Joseph Loeb with art by Tim Sale. The movies are a brilliant rendition of the famous comics that stay true to the plot while achieving epic styles and storytelling that can’t be done on a static page. The first part of the film was released mid-June of 2021, and its much-awaited counterpart followed a month later.
But this movie isn’t just for DC lovers. Most animated movies provide social commentary, and “The Long Halloween” duo is no different. The movie provides a beautiful portrait of that blessed phenomenon that has befallen all of us, oftentimes trivially called “the human condition,” that will provide enough material to move the viewer into spooky, contemplative reveries for days.
The movie begins with Bruce Wayne, voiced by “Supernatural” star Jensen Ackles, broodily lamenting that his beloved Gotham City has fallen — and what he means is that supervillains are not the only threat to the city. Gotham is dominated by two powerful families reminiscent of the film “The Godfather,” the Maroni and Falcone families.
The families are at war with another and causing havoc all over the city. Harvey Dent (who obviously has more than one Gemini placement), a notorious figure in Batman-lore, is the recently appointed district attorney of Gotham. Harvey is voiced by famous actor Josh Duhamel, who delivers an amazing performance.
Harvey’s strained relationship with his wife Gilda is worsened by the fact that he’s trying to stop the powerful families. Just as “justice” is seemingly about to be served, a powerful figure is murdered on Halloween using a gun covered by a baby bottle nipple on Halloween night.
This serial killer, dubbed “Holiday,” begins killing influential members of both families every holiday for an entire year as Batman, Harvey and James Gordon struggle to uncover the mystery and defeat the foe.
Throughout the film, Batman is unsure — a detective who has not yet proven his sleuthing prowess. It’s a nice change of pace from the usual, self-assured and snarky Batman of other movies.
But Holiday is not the only villain in the two-part movie phenomenon. Amazing appearances and fight sequences from the Joker, Scarecrow, Mad Hatter, Poison Ivy and, of course, Two-Face are enough to make any active comic book lover swoon.
Naya Rivera voices Selina Kyle, also known as Catwoman. This is Rivera’s last acting role – the “Glee” actress tragically died at 33 on July 8, 2020 after saving her son in a boating accident. The end of the first part of the film honors her memory.
Although the movie does a good job of giving some women interesting storylines, it disappoints when it comes to Catwoman. Her role throughout the film is to consistently save Batman’s ass while he continually rebuffs her, telling her that he just isn’t looking for a partner. Eyeroll.
The pair’s on-again, off-again relationship throughout the film runs parallel to Catwoman’s tumultuous relationship with “the good guys” like Batman. The viewer is left with many questions about her story that never get properly explained.
Ultimately, the conclusion of the movie leaves one helplessly contemplating the blurred lines between “good” and “bad.” Such words are even far too simplistic to assess the characters. Every character is motivated by their own sense of justice and self-preservation.
The landscape of human character painted by this movie doesn’t resemble “Bliss,” the default computer wallpaper of Microsoft Windows. Instead, it’s closer to mountains of varying lengths and topographies, with terrains of differing intensity, involving the highest highs and lowest lows, but is ultimately, no less beautiful than the rolling hills of a computer background.
Time is cyclic. Nobody is spared from its wretched grasp, its everlasting and all-consuming nature. Like an always-moving Ferris wheel. Or perhaps a hamster wheel is a better analogy.
Sons must pay for the actions of their fathers, people die, people don’t die, people do bad things sometimes, people do good things sometimes and sometimes, people do bad things all the time. Most of the time people just do things, and the tragic fate haunting humans is to accept that.